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COVID-19 Monitor

Last Updated:October 15, 2020

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East-west divide: winners and losers in the Covid economy (FT) Published on: October 11, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Global Response
  • The difference between Europe and China is palpable, said Remigio Brunelli, managing director in China for the Italian sportswear group Tecnica. “Uncertainty is still running high in the old continent [Europe], and we expect it to last for another six or 12 months at least. In Asia, on the other hand, and particularly in China, there is confidence.”
  • His comments show how different approaches to the pandemic are now leading to sharp divergences in outcomes, with China, Taiwan and other Asia-Pacific economies on course to grow in 2020, even as countries where coronavirus has become endemic suffer severe contractions.
  • Intense global demand for medical goods, such as masks and gowns, and working-from-home necessities, such as personal computers, has rippled through Asian supply chains.
As virus fills French ICUs anew, doctors ask what went wrong (AP News) Published on: October 10, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • COVID-19 patients now occupy 40% of ICU beds in the Paris region, and more than a quarter of ICUs nationwide as weeks of growing infections among young people spread to vulnerable populations.
  • Despite being one of the world’s richest nations — and one of those hardest hit when the pandemic first washed over the world — France hasn’t added significant ICU capacity or the staff needed to manage extra beds, according to national health agency figures and doctors at multiple hospitals.
India-Israel 30-second coronavirus test should be ‘ready in days’ (The Jerusalem Post) Published on: October 10, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • A 30-second coronavirus detection test being developed by India and Israel should be ready in “a matter of days,” Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka told the Indian news agency PTI on Friday. “All the thresholds have been passed.”
  • The operation has been dubbed “Open Skies,” and Malka said he believes the testing kit will enable the world to begin opening the skies, since the technology simply requires a person to blow into a tube and the results become available in less than a minute.
  • It is also very cheap to carry out, as the results are delivered locally without the logistics and cost of sending the sample to a lab.
Private equity-owned companies in ‘intensive care’ due to pandemic (FT) Published on: October 10, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact
  • One in 10 companies owned by private equity managers is in “intensive care” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, sparking concerns that alternative funds could suffer performance hits and reputational damage.
  • Private equity managers reported that half of the companies they owned were moderately or very affected by the economic disruption caused by the global health crisis, according to an analysis by three finance professors.
  • The gross internal rate of return (excluding fees) is expected to be 4.4 percentage points lower on average at 22.6 per cent in 2020, compared with a similar survey conducted in 2013.
Nurses suffer burn-out, psychological distress in COVID fight – association (Reuters) Published on: October 10, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • Many nurses caring for COVID-19 patients are suffering burn-out or psychological distress, and many have faced abuse or discrimination outside of work, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said.
  • “Our most recent survey of national nurses’ associations shows that more than 70% of them (the associations) were saying that nurses have been subject to violence or discrimination and as a result of that they are very concerned about extreme cases of psychological distress and mental health pressure,” said Howard Catton, ICN’s chief executive.
The second wave will be harder than the first — because this time, we saw it coming (CBC) Published on: October 10, 2020 | Category: Canadian Business
  • If the second wave in Canada matches or surpasses the first wave — in terms of infections or economic hardship — it will be doubly frustrating because no one can claim to have been surprised by the possibility of a resurgence.
  • If governments have any advantage now, it’s that they should have a better understanding of how to handle health-related restrictions and the economic supports necessary to get people and businesses through those lockdowns.
  • The federal Conservatives continue to insist that the new infections in Canada can be blamed on a lack of access to rapid testing for COVID-19 and that the federal government should have moved faster to ensure such tests were available.
  • At the same time, the small business lobby is now describing Ontario’s new restrictions as a “crushing blow” and it remains to be seen how much “pandemic fatigue” or anti-lockdown agitation will complicate any efforts to reverse course now.
White House Draws Up New $1.8 Trillion Virus-Relief Proposal (WSJ) Published on: October 9, 2020 | Category: Economic Impact, Global Response
  • A person familiar with the proposal said it included $1.88 trillion in spending, with about $400 billion of the funds reallocated from unspent money from earlier relief legislation, bringing the total cost to about $1.5 trillion.
  • Substantial differences have plagued efforts to reach a bipartisan compromise for months. Chief among them is federal aid to state and local governments, which have seen their budgets hammered during the pandemic.
  • Very broadly, the two parties largely agree that the next bill should include aid for unemployed workers, small businesses, schools and public-health efforts, among other measures.
Customers Still Like to Shop in Person, Even if They Get Only to the Curb (NY Times) Published on: October 9, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • When the pandemic forced Dick’s Sporting Goods to close its hundreds of stores in March, the retailer hustled to set up curbside pickup within two days.
  • Scrappy or not, curbside pickup not only rescued Dick’s sales during the lockdowns, it has also emerged as many retailers’ best strategy for long-term survival in the e-commerce age.
  • Beyond satisfying the need for contactless shopping in the pandemic, it taps into Americans’ desire to drive to a store, a pull that can be just as strong as, or even stronger than, the convenience of home delivery.
Hotspots of resurgent Covid erode faith in ‘herd immunity’ (FT) Published on: October 9, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • Infection rates rise again in cities where some hoped a form of protection had been achieved.
  • That is reflected in the latest European data, which show that many of the same places that suffered the worst virus outbreaks in the spring — such as Paris, Madrid and northern Italy — are among those with an autumn resurgence.
  • Shahid Jameel, chief executive of the DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance, a biomedical research charity, said: “Herd immunity is a concept used more for vaccinations instead of disease. You can’t really talk about herd immunity in a state or a country. It’s more about clusters”.
Consumer companies must take leaps, not steps (strategy+business) Published on: October 9, 2020 | Category: Global Response
  • Almost 90 per cent of online grocery shoppers plan to continue buying online when social-distancing measures are removed, according to PwC’s latest Global Consumer Insights Survey.
  • The volatility couldn’t come at a worse time; PwC’s survey finds that 18 per cent of consumers polled worldwide have experienced a loss of income and higher household bills.
  • It’s clear that consumers will keep experimenting with newer channels, such as mobile and online grocery.
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